Advocates for victims of domestic and sexual violence will present their legislative priorities to political leaders from throughout Fairfield County at The Center for Family Justice’s annual legislative breakfast on Tuesday, Jan. 14.
The informative meeting, which will be held at CFJ’s Bridgeport headquarters at 753 Fairfield Ave. beginning at 8 a.m., will include members of the General Assembly representing communities from Greenwich to Stratford, who will hear from domestic and sexual violence experts on their goals for establishing new laws and reforms which could make the state safer for victims of abuse.
The breakfast’s agenda is especially timely this year as lawmakers and agencies such as CFJ, which provides crisis and supportive services to victims in six local communities, respond to issues tragically highlighted by the May murder of New Canaan mother-of-five Jennifer Dulos. Dulos had made persistent claims during divorce proceedings that she feared her estranged husband would hurt her. Her husband, Fotis Dulos, was arrested and charged with her alleged murder last week.
Jennifer Dulos was one of fourteen people murdered in Connecticut by an intimate partner in 2019 and her death highlights growing concerns from victims advocates’ about the ways abusive partners use the legal system to harass, intimidate and control their victims.
“It’s urgent that we help all victims’ access justice by making our court systems more responsive to providing the safeguards and protections they deserve,” said Debra A. Greenwood, President & CEO of The Center for Family Justice. “We welcome this opportunity to meet with local legislators to explain firsthand the need for many important changes and reforms we believe can and will save lives.”
The breakfast will provide an important opportunity for legislators to hear from representatives of CFJ as well as the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) and The Alliance to End Sexual Violence, who will be on hand to detail their policy agenda for the upcoming session of the state’s General Assembly.
Key legislative proposals that will be discussed include a variety of initiatives focused on supporting and protecting victims engaged with the civil and criminal courts as well as reforms that will ensure they can receive justice, including elimination of the statute of limitations in sexual assault cases in civil lawsuits.
The #MeToo movement has highlighted the need for victims of sexual abuse and trauma to have time to confront their abusers and seek damages through civil lawsuits.